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Archive for December, 2012

Norma M20Pro Race is the first Spaniard team taking part in the race with a Maxi Prototype car – a Norma-built M20 FC-, while JSB Competition is lining-up a SEAT León Supercup, being the first team from France in the MAXI ENDURANCE 48.

MAXI ENDURANCE 48, the longest race celebrated in motorsport ever, keeps improving its entry list for the maiden event scheduled next March. Recently two new teams have joined the entry list confirming their participation in MAXI ENDURANCE 48: Pro Race and JSB Competition.

Pro Race is a Spaniard team fielding a Norma M20 FC for the Maxi Prototype class, at the moment with no less than six CN cars already present. It´s worth to point out that this team is the first one of Spanish nationality participating with a CN car in the MAXI ENDURANCE 48. With rather experience in several championships for this sort of vehicles, now Pro Race approaches the most demanding challenge in racing.

In regards to JSB Competition, a French team led by Julien Briche, will race a SEAT León Supercopa for Maxi Sport class. JSB Competition is the first confirmed team from France and they have an important background in GT and touring car racing and everything is set for its debut in MAXI ENDURANCE 48.

For more information on the MAXI ENDURANCE 48, please visit www.maxiendurance48.com or contact press@maxiendurance48.com.

Gustav Malja17-year-old Gustav Malja is ready for the next challenge in his international formula car career, when he in 2013 takes the step up to the highly competitive Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. Malja has signed for the German top team Josef Kaufmann Racing, who brought both Dutchman Robin Frijns (newly appointed test driver for Sauber in Formula 1) and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne to gold in the championship in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup attracts one of the largest starting field of nearly 40 cars, and is part of the event package World Series by Renault. Malja – who finished second in the German ADAC Formula Masters in 2012 – will also participate in the three selected rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) during the season.

- This is a fantastic opportunity for me, and I am incredibly happy – and honored – for this opportunity with such a successful team as Josef Kaufmann Racing is, says Gustav Malja. Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup is an enormously tough championship which will take place at some of Europe’s premier race tracks, and I am convinced that this is the right environment for my continued development as a driver. I’ve already tested with the team on several occasions in the winter and thrive in their way to work. As a newcomer in the championship, I have to be realistic, and I’m very humbled by the challenge that awaits. It is great to have everything ready already at this early stage, and I’m really looking forward to getting started with the season!

Josef Kaufmann Racing was founded in 1982 and has over the years worked with drivers like Gerhard Berger, Nico Hülkenberg, Esteban Gutiérrez, Christian Vietoris and Sébastien Buemi. For Malja awaits initially a series of pre-season tests in the south Europe, where he gets a first chance to get acquainted with the new car introduced in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup for 2013.

- We are very pleased to have Gustav on our side in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup 2013, says Josef Kaufmann (Team Manager, Josef Kaufmann Racing). He showed how talented he is in the ADAC Formula Masters in 2012, and was the most consistent driver in the championship. He continued to impress us during the winter tests – despite his limited experience – and we are confident that he will be a force to reckon with even as a rookie next season. Competition in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup is fierce and gives Gustav a perfect opportunity to develop behind the wheel, and together we are well prepared for a successful 2013.

The season opener of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup takes place in Motorland Aragon, Spain, 27-28 April. The overall winner of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup will be rewarded with a check for €500,000 by French Renault Sport.

Matthew BrabhamAndretti Autosport announced today that they have signed Matthew Brabham, a third-generation racer, to pilot their Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires entry for the 2013 season.

The son of former IMSA and IndyCar star Geoff Brabham and grandson of F1 World Champion Jack Brabham, 18-year-old Matthew won the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda at his first attempt this year, and subsequently was invited to test with the Andretti Pro Mazda squad at Indianapolis. He was also named to the prestigious Team USA Scholarship team at the end of the year, and ably represented the squad in British Formula Renault last month, finishing second at the season finale.

“I am so excited to be driving for the Andretti Autosport team in the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship,” said Brabham. “It was fantastic to drive for the team at the Indy test, and get a feel for how they operate. They are really professional and seem like a great bunch of guys to work with. The Pro Mazda had more power than the USF2000 car, so it was lots of fun to drive and gave me a good understanding of what to expect next season.”

The Brabham racing pedigree started in the 1950s, when Jack Brabham left his Australian homeland to join open-wheel racing competition in Europe. Jack Brabham went on to become a three-time Formula 1 World Champion and receive a knighthood. He is also credited with starting the rear engine revolution at the Indianapolis 500 in 1961.

Matthew’s father, Geoff Brabham followed in his father’s footsteps and successfully competed in CART early in his career – where he was team mates with Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti on the Kraco Racing team. He had 10 Indianapolis 500 starts, with a best result of fourth in 1983.

“I think it is really cool to have the Andretti and Brabham names come together with Matthew joining the Andretti Autosport team,” said Geoff Brabham. “Both his grandfather Sir Jack and Mario are Formula 1 World Champions. Mario, Michael and I drove against each other for many years in Indy cars. Now Matthew has a chance to forge his own career. Having the history and heritage of both families behind him can only be positive, not only on the race track but also giving potential sponsors a unique combination.”

“I cannot wait to get next year’s season underway,” added Brabham. “I can’t thank the Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship program enough for giving me the opportunity to move up into this class. Andretti Autosport is really experienced in multiple avenues of racing, and has tremendous resources and knowledge. It i s quite an honour to be a part of such a prestigious team.”

Brabham is also looking forward to being part of the same team as Marco Andretti, with both being third-generation drivers. This will allow Brabham the opportunity to consult with the youngest Andretti racer, who knows the ins and outs of competing as a racing legacy.

Brabham started racing karts in Australia at the age of seven. He won four State Titles, was second in the Australian Nationals and won numerous high profile races during his Karting career. In 2009, Brabham switched from karts to Formula Ford, winning an Australian National Championship round at Winton, Vic; also he had a seven race winning streak in the Victorian Formula Ford State Series. In 2012 Brabham came back to the United States and won The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, with 11 podium finishes, four of which were wins. He accrued a total of six pole positions and had eight of the fastest race laps.

“I’m really looking forward to progressing through the Mazda Road to Indy ranks, all the way to Indy cars,” said Brabham. “Driving for Andretti Autosport certainly gives me that chance, now it is up to me to make this opportunity count.”

Giovinazzi and GelaelReigning Formula Pilota China Champion Antonio Giovinazzi and fellow category race winner Sean Gelael will graduate to the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series next year after today, Tuesday, 18th December, finalising their respective 2013 deals with Double R Racing.

Indonesian 16-year-old Gelael and Italian Giovinazzi, who celebrated his 19th birthday last week, will each drive a Mercedes-powered Dallara F312 in the headline class of British F3 as both – who are part of the same ‘Sean GP’ management stable – make the move into the ultra-competitive world of Formula 3 after just a single season in cars.

“It’s fantastic for us to have filled two seats already for 2013, we’re absolutely delighted to have Sean and Antonio onboard and really looking forward to working with them over the winter and into the new season”, commented team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “I’ve been out to Malaysia a few times to watch them both in action and they’ve been very impressive.

“They’re very quick, very talented young drivers and did a sensational job in their first season in cars this year. Sean’s performances, at such a young age, belied his limited experience and Antonio’s results tally speaks for itself – he dominated the championship. Both have a strong pedigree from karting and, in testing with us at Pembrey in the F3 car, they showed a great deal of promise.”

Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Gelael is a true rising star of Asian motorsport and made a huge impact during his debut season of car racing in Formula Pilota this year. Ending the campaign fourth overall in the championship, and second in the ‘Best Asian Driver Trophy’, the youngster brilliantly achieved his first win during the season finale at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

Gelael also competed in the last three races of the 2012 Formula Abarth Championship at Monza in Italy and delivered an excellent series of performances, securing a best result of seventh place and a hat-trick of top 10 finishes.

The youngster’s karting debut came in 2008 in the ranks of Senior Rotax, having already been a champion co-driver in Indonesian National Rallying, and just two years later he claimed his first title in karts with victory in the Senior Formula 125 Asian Karting Open Championship. The following season, Gelael was third in the Asian Karting Open before making the move into cars.

Giovinazzi secured several race victories and numerous podiums on his way to the Formula Pilota China Championship title this year, sealing the crown a full 50 points clear of experienced British single-seater racer Dan Wells.

Like stable-mate Gelael, the Italian also debuted in Formula Abarth at Monza in September where he won two of the three races during a rain-hit final weekend of the season. Starring on his first outing, Giovinazzi scythed his way through from the back of the grid to claim a maiden win in the opening encounter before capping off the weekend superbly with another victory in race three.

His motorsport career began in karting in 2006 where he won the Italian National Trophy 60cc title and the Euro Trophy before graduating into the ranks of KF3 where he was second in the Torneo Industrie and Copa Campeones Trophy contests in 2008.

Finishing third in the KF2 class of the Trofeo Andrea Margutti in 2009, Giovinazzi was a consistent front-runner at European and World level over the next two years in KF2 – finishing second in the 2011 Bridgestone Cup and third in the CIK-FIA World Cup.

Oulton Park in Cheshire will host the opening three rounds of the 2013 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series across Easter weekend with the action commencing on Good Friday, 29th March, and then concluding on Saturday, 30th March.

Archie Hamilton, 21, Hampshire, received his award for finishing third in the International GT Open in Monaco at the weekend. The International GT Open and European F3 Open Awards Ceremony was held at the prestigious Hotel Hermitage, Monte Carlo on Saturday night.

Archie received his award from Jesús Pareja, founder and CEO of GT Sport, the promotor of International GT Open. Mr Pareja was himself a successful sportscar racer, winning several major endurance events and finishing second overall at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1986.

Archie’s plans for next season are underway with details expected to be announced early in the new year. 2013 is the 60th anniversary of his grandfather, Duncan Hamilton, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Archie Hamilton:
“Receiving my award in a setting like this really brought home what a great season 2012 was. Being on a stage with the likes of Gimmi Bruni, Nick Tandy and Marco Holzer made me realise what a big jump we made. We set out to have a learning year and I worked exceptionally hard on my driving and fitness. In fact I recently broke the Grid Fit record at iZone, knocking Moto GP rider Bradley Smith off the top spot. It was really great to hear the Porsche assessor saying that he’d never seen such a fit driver. Changing to international sportscar racing and working with iZone gave me what I needed to progress. I feel a completely different driver to a year ago and can’t wait to continue improving in 2013. It is a big year for my family with it being my grandfather’s Le Mans anniversary and I want to make it a big year for me too so that I can dedicate it to him.

Natasha SeatterFormula Gulf 1000 (www.FG1000.net) has clearly attracted some of the most talented young racing drivers from around the UAE and Malaysia. At the Dubai Motorsport Festival, held on the 5.4kms GP Circuit, it was 16 year old Nick Canal (Spain) who took pole position with a blistering lap of 2:02.366 a full second quicker than second fastest driver,16 year old Rahul Mayer (Malaysia).

But it was the more experienced Malaysian driver Natasha Seatter who made a flying start from the second row to take the inside line at Turn One which saw poleman Canal running wide, spinning and returning to the circuit in last place. This incident slowed the pack whilst Seatter got clean away and put in the first of a series of fast laps that built to a 20second lead as she took the chequered flag. Canal did very well to work his way back through the pack, but ran out of laps in his quest to catch young Rahul Mayer who finished 2nd.

The grid for Round 6 was based on the finishing order of the previous race which saw Seatter on pole taking and demonstrating her party trick – a blisteringly fast first lap on cold tyres. Now where have we seen that before! Mayer got away well from the front row but with Canal desperate to get past him and chase down Seatter. At the end of the first lap Canal was already in second place with only a three second gap to the leader. From lap three, Canal put in laps consistently around three tenths faster than Seatter which put him just 0.472 of a second behind her at the chequered flag! Rookie drivers Rahul Mayer and Saeed Bintouq finished in 3rd and 4th separated by just three seconds after a 50 kilometer race! Haytham Sultan and Harsh Rajpal also put in great laps to finish in 5th and 6th place respectively.

Team Principal Barry Hope said “The second race was particularly exciting but you have to be impressed with the quality of the driving from all of them. Nick Canal is now able to run with Natasha for speed but she always has a great first lap and gives both him and Rahul a lot of work to do. Some great lap time improvement was also evident from Saeed Bintouq although he is still on a step learning curve and getting faster every race.”

Round 5
1st Natasha Seatter
2nd Rahul Maher
3rd Nick Canal
4th Saeed Bintouq
5th Haytham Sultan Al Ali
6th Harsh Rajpal
DNS Weiron Tan

Round 6
1st Natasha Seatter
2nd Nick Canal
3rd Rahul Mayer
4th Saeed Bintouq
5th Haytham Sultan Al Ali
6th Harsh Rajpal
DNS Weiron Tan

Photo by anysportphotos.com

Jack Harvey - British F3 ChampionReigning Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series Champion Jack Harvey has today, Friday, 14th December, been confirmed as the official Sean Walkinshaw Racing (SWR) driver coach for the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship.

Lincolnshire 19-year-old Harvey, one of the country’s most highly rated FIA Formula One World Championship aspirants, enjoyed a tremendously successful second season in British Formula 3 this year with seven race victories and five other podiums en-route to the prestigious title win.

Aiming to deliver the most professional presence possible in the F4 paddock, the appointment of Harvey as the SWR driver coach underlines the Chipping Norton team’s incredibly high standards and desire to hit the ground running when the 2013 season commences in late April.

“Whenever I’ve spoken with the team over the last few weeks it always comes across just how much they want to do the best job possible, everything is very professional”, said Harvey, “I take a lot of pride in the fact SWR has asked me to be part of the team as driver coach and I really am confident we can hit the ground running when the cars are ready and we’re able to go testing.

“Everything I do, I want to do it to the best of my ability and that’s no different whether I’m on track racing myself or working with SWR in F4. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be able to be at the front straight away, it will be very challenging but everything is in place at SWR to succeed.”

SWR will run two cars in the inaugural BRDC Formula 4 season from its West Oxfordshire facilities with the team headed by vastly experienced motorsport professionals Ken Page, team principal, and Mick Gomme, commercial manager.

“We’re obviously delighted to have a racer of Jack’s quality as our official driver coach, his record speaks for itself and as the British F3 Champion his knowledge and experience will be a massive bonus for any young driver racing with SWR in 2013”, commented Page.

“Our aim is to build the most professional team we can, with the highest standards of quality, and Jack is an integral part of that. We’re very much looking forward to working closely with him next year in BRDC Formula 4.”

Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire will host the opening two rounds of the inaugural BRDC Formula 4 Championship season over the weekend 27th/28th April. Drivers interested in racing with SWR should contact the team’s commercial manager, Mick Gomme, on 0845 4020402, 07702 669418 or by emailing Mick.Gomme@walkinshawperformance.co.uk

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Hillspeed Ginetta Junior CarLeading motor racing squad Hillspeed has today, Friday, 14th December, confirmed its intention to step into the Ginetta GT Supercup in 2013 and is in discussion with several top-line drivers ahead of its planned assault on the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship-support series next year.

Just two months removed from the announcement of its expansion into the new BRDC Formula 4 Championship, the Hathersage team is now all set to add a fourth rung to its ladder of opportunity which already features title-winning Ginetta Junior and Protyre Formula Renault BARC squads.

“After the success Hillspeed has enjoyed in Ginetta Junior over the last few years, we’re looking to build on that and our relationship with Ginetta by adding Ginetta GT Supercup involvement to our motor racing programme in 2013”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw.

“With the introduction of Ginetta’s exceptionally cost effective packages for drivers for next year, the time is right for us to look at moving into GT Supercup. We’ve had some strong enquiries from top-line drivers who are considering Hillspeed as a serious option, given the success we’ve enjoyed in every other category we’ve competed in, so it makes perfect sense to add Supercup to our plans.”

Since first becoming involved in Ginetta racing in 2010 in the Ginetta Junior Championship, Hillspeed has been the most successful team in the series. Winning the main season title and the Winter Series crown in its debut year, the Derbyshire squad went on to claim championship glory once again in 2011. This year, the team scooped the Rookie Class title with car racing debutant Pepe Massot.

Hillspeed has also been hugely successful in the realms of single-seaters, its first titles coming in the ARP Formula 3 Championship (now known as the MSV F3 Cup) in 2000 and 2001, with added glory in both Formula Renault UK and Formula Renault BARC.

With the announcement regarding the Ginetta GT Supercup plans, Hillspeed now offers two distinct routes for aspiring professional drivers who wish to consider pursuing a career in either open-wheel racing or saloon car and sportscar competition.

Ollerenshaw added: “It’s always important to look at fresh opportunities and the GT Supercup has certainly proven to be a highly popular and competitive championship, everything we at Hillspeed look for in a series. By offering a path from Junior to GT Supercup, as well as a single-seater route in Formula 4 and Formula Renault BARC, we’ll be providing a wide range of career development.”

Drivers interested in finding out more about Hillspeed’s 2013 Ginetta GT Supercup plans are invited to contact Richard Ollerenshaw on 01433 650400, 07966 650400 or by email to info@hillspeed.co.uk

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

SEAT LEON SC pistaHi Jaime, as the director responsible for SEAT Sport, when you first heard that this new and historic initiative was emerging in Spain, what went through your head?

JP. I found it to be an interesting challenge – a serious opportunity for car mechanics and drivers who will want to participate because the Maxi Endurance 48 competition is up there with the great challenges that we have seen today in other sports.

What do you think of Maxi Endurance 48?

JP. Given the new format of the race, I am convinced that for the drivers it will be very exciting to participate. It will be a demanding competition for both drivers and vehicles.

When you mentioned this race to teams and drivers, what has been their reaction? Did they like the challenge?

JP. They like the challenge and are attracted to the opportunity, and our customers are convinced that they have a great car with which to accept this Challenge.

What attracts you most of this special race?

JP. The demand and the challenge for ALL members of the team and the skills they will need to show when developing and implementing the strategy to win the race.

Do you think the SEAT Leon Super Cup is a right car for this challenge? Why?

JP. The SEAT Leon Super Cup has spent years proving to be a reliable car in endurance racing. Many customers have trusted it to 24h contests with very good results. I’m sure the SEAT Leon Super Cup
will continue to demonstrate high reliability in a 48h challenge. Even the SEAT Ibiza SC Trophy would be an excellent car for the Challenger, even though it is clearly not as fast as the SEAT Leon.

Your cars have already proven to be competitive on endurance racing, but now they face a new race without any referente; what do you think can be the keys to success? What do you think the strategy is based on?

JP. The ideal strategy for this demanding race should be based on going fast – but still taking good care of the car mechanically!

Thanks for your time and see you at the longest circuit race in the World, Maxi Endurance 48¡

For more information on the MAXI ENDURANCE 48H please visit http://maxiendurance48.com/ or contact press@maxiendurance48.com

Philip Forsman, Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia 2012After finishing in second place overall in the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia – and after driving home the Swedish national title in karting for the third time in a row – Philip Forsman can now look back on a positive 2012. The 24-year-old showed evidence of unmatched stability when he as the only driver in the field got up on the podium in all Pof the season’s Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia races, and also managed to get hold of his first two wins in the championship – one of which was delivered at home at Solvalla in Stockholm during a memorable final weekend.

Forsman, who earlier in december was recognized for his efforts during the season at the annual motor sports gala ‘Porsche Night of Champions’ in Weissach, Germany, is now in full swing with work for 2013 – and the ambition is clear.

- My goal is to be on the grid in the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia for another season, and in light of the results we achieved in 2012, we’re going for gold, says Philip Forsman. It happens a lot behind the scenes in racing in Sweden right now, and I think the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia is one of the championship which benefits most of the merger between STCC and TTA. I have received a number of other offers to consider during the winter, but I would like to continue where I finished last season – and I want to do it with the right conditions to win.

Forsman also opens up for the opportunity to measure his skills against international opposition in 2013.

- Carrera Cup is a worldwide concept, and for me it represents a very interesting career option also in the longer term, says Philip Forsman. We are trying to get to a few appearances in the German championship or the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup – running alongside Formula 1 – and I hope to present a complete package shortly. Right now I’m waiting primarily on information about how the Scandinavian calendar will look like. In the meantime, Merry Christmas!